The Tall and The Short of Growing Beans in Hawai’i
Kawanui Farm – Kona
I love green beans. My favorite variety to grow is the Alan Chadwick Blue Lake Green Bean that is a pole variety, meaning that you need to provide a trellis for it to grow on.
Beans come in 2 types, pole or bush. Bush beans are short compact plants. I prefer growing pole beans. I think production is greater over a longer period of time, I don’t have to bend down to pick them, and I can see them easier among the leaves on a trellis. There are so many ways to make a trellis for pole beans.
When making my trellis, I like to use the 4-inch square galvanized concrete wire that I get in a role at Home Depot or LOWES. I use that wire for a lot of things, like keeping wild chickens out of my garden beds but that is another story!
I make two types of trellis. One is the round and the other is the flat trellis. (see photo below).
If you live in wild chicken territory like I do, the round works well, because I plant the bean seeds on the inside of the round and they are protected from scratching chickens! But, there are so many creative ways to make a trellis!
Pole beans are fast, about 50-65 days to Harvest. Once they begin, I usually pick every 2-3 days. I like to pick them young and tender. I love the taste of the Blue Lake, it has a sweet, fresh, beany taste and can be lightly steamed, in a stir fry with other vegetables, or even roasted. My favorite way to eat them is to sauté some grated ginger and minced garlic in olive oil in my cast iron skillet; add the beans (whole or chopped) and cook until just done, or sautéed with some of my leeks or sweet onions!
I first got this variety from Ellen Sugawara on Molokai who had worked with Alan Chadwick in Round Valley, California. So you’re probably wondering, who is Alan Chadwick and what’s the story of the Blue Lake Green Bean?
Blue Lake Green Beans are named for the area in which they were developed in the late 1800s, the Blue Lake area near Ukiah, California, US. Where at one time, they were grown and canned. If you want to read the whole story see: http://www.record-bee.com/article/NQ/20160616/NEWS/160619876When I was a child, modern mothers served those canned Blue Lake green beans.
Alan Chadwick led the Biodynamic French Intensive Method of organic gardening
in the United States, developed the famous student garden and horticulture program at UC Santa Cruz, and was teacher and mentor to many students. After leaving Santa Cruz he went to Round Valley in Mendocino County and continued to work with apprentices there. Round Valley is close to where the Blue Lake Beans originated, perhaps that is why he chose to “improve” the variety. Apparently, Blue Lake Green Bean comes in both pole and bush varieties. I have been growing, selecting and saving seed of this variety for 20 years.
Yum.!..Blue Lake stir fry with minced garlic, grated ginger & shaved fennel
I hope you will enjoy them as we do!
We are now selling this wonderful
'Alan Chadwick' Blue Lake pole bean on our
Hawaii Seed Growers Network marketplace